The Stragglers and their supporters were given a wonderful lunchtime welcome at St. Lawrence and Highland Court, the Straggler fixture with the second longest pedigree, going back at to 1949 – Nonington dates from 1948. As seems to be routine this season, the Stragglers batted first, scored plenty, and then ran through the opposition. The result looks like a comfortable win, but it was certainly not comfortable in the field early in the Highland Court innings, as the opening batters were going very hard, and Charlie’s declaration looked increasingly generous. A 10th Straggler century of the season was scored by Kiwi Straggler Ed Wright (154*), the 4th highest individual Straggler score in 73 years, and the second time 150 has been posted this season; we have never scored 10 centuries or two 150s in a season previously. Indeed, while Stragglers have knocked up ten tons, the highest score posted by any opposition player in 2019 is the 90* scored by Ollie Logan of Hurlingham back in May.
Theo had a tough start to the day, middling a half volley straight to short extra to be out first ball. This brought Ed to the wicket (mistakenly identified as his brother, Henry, by his skipper for the first few overs). Ed batted with consummate authority, dealing with bad balls with casual elegance, and keeping out anything threatening. Your correspondent assumed that he must be a “counter” as he reached both 50 and 100 with sixes hit into the pavilion, but it proved a chance coincidence. Partners came and went, the most unfortunate of whom, brother Henry (23), was triggered by an anxious George BW, when the pace of opposition overseas pro was unleashed; there was a need for DRS to show the very thick edge. Hamish MacLeod was junior pro with 5 in a partnership of 48, and then Charlie Mac eased into the supporting role to finish undefeated on 35. Would 248 for 4 be enough?
Highland Court chase hard, and they set off very hard indeed, at almost 10 an over, and taking no prisoners. The breakthrough came in the fifth over, as Hugo swung a yorker back in, the non-striker having just advised his partner that Hugo was shaping it away. Nick Wright, bowling right arm angry, was taking some punishment, and was replaced by Theo, whose day suddenly got better. He brought the knee high full toss into play, and the ball was launched much like a Saturn 5 rocket; Hugo had plenty of time to settle himself at long-on before the ball came back through the clouds to be safely pouched. Theo went on to bowl the spell of the innings with 3 for 12 and the only maiden all day. At the other end, Al picked up a couple (another full toss, of course) with good catches by Hugo and Theo, as Highland Court kept coming, the target still within reach. Even at 103 for 7, they were not done, with Ruaridh MacLeod and Will Hilton at the wicket. It took another Kiwi, Alex Reece, to deal with them both, Will trying to clear the pavilion hit it too high to Hamish running round in front of the pavilion, and then a full complement of MacLeods got involved in the next wicket; a careless call saw Hamish retrieve the ball, and throw to Charlie to ran out Ruaridh. Even with the last pair at the wicket, the chase was still alive, and Guy Hilton smacked consecutive overs from the Chairman and Alex for 17 apiece in a final wicket partnership of 46. Fortunately he could not keep the strike, and his partner waved at a straight one on to the back pad in front of middle. Victory by 51 runs secured by some excellent Straggler catching.
|St Lawrence & Highland Court|